Elizabeth Hatton

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Lady Hatton
Lady Coke
Died3 January 1646
BuriedSt Andrew, Holborn
Noble familyCecil
Spouse(s)Sir William Newport alias Hatton
Edward Coke
FatherThomas Cecil, 1st Earl of Exeter
MotherDorothy Neville

Elizabeth, Lady Coke (née Cecil, 1578 – 3 January 1646), was an English court office holder. She served as lady-in-waiting to the queen consort of England, Anne of Denmark. She was the daughter of Thomas Cecil, 1st Earl of Exeter, and Dorothy Neville, and the granddaughter of William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley. She was the wife of Sir William Hatton and later of Sir Edward Coke.

Dorothy Neville, mother of Elizabeth Cecil


Elizabeth Cecil, born in 1578, was the fourth daughter of Thomas Cecil, 1st Earl of Exeter, and his wife, Dorothy Neville (1548–1609), the daughter of John Neville, 4th Baron Latimer, and his wife Lady Lucy Somerset, daughter of Henry Somerset, 2nd Earl of Worcester and his first wife Lady Margaret Courtenay. She was the granddaughter of William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, by his first wife, Mary Cheke (died February 1543).

Marriages and issue[edit]

In the early 1590s Elizabeth married firstly, Sir William Newport alias Hatton (1560–1597), the son of John Newport (d.1566) of Hunningham, Warwickshire, and his wife, Dorothy Hatton (d.1566x70), the sister of Elizabeth I's Lord Chancellor, Sir Christopher Hatton.[1] Newport had taken the surname Hatton when his childless uncle, Sir Christopher Hatton, settled his estates on him as his heir.[2][3] When Sir Christopher Hatton died in 1591, Robert Greene dedicated his A Maiden's Dream to 'The right worshipful, bountiful, and virtuous lady, the Lady Elizabeth Hatton, wife to the right worshipful Sir William Hatton, Knight'.[4]

William Hatton had earlier married, in June 1589, Elizabeth Gawdy, the daughter and heiress of Sir Francis Gawdy (died 1605) and Elizabeth Coningsby,[5][6][7][8] who died soon after the marriage, leaving an only daughter, Frances Hatton (1590–1623), who on 24 February 1605 married Robert Rich, 2nd Earl of Warwick. After the marriage, Frances Hatton's grandfather, Sir Francis Gawdy, broke off relations with her.[9][10]

After the death of William Hatton on 12 March 1597,[5][11] and after a failed wooing by Sir Francis Bacon,[12] on 6 November 1598 Elizabeth married secondly, Sir Edward Coke.[13] The marriage was held at a private house at the wrong time rather than between 8 to 12 in the morning at a church. Subsequently, all involved parties to the marriage were prosecuted for breaching ecclesiastical law and Sir Edward had to sue for a royal pardon.[14]

When King James VI of Scotland set out to claim the English throne after the death of Queen Elizabeth I in 1603, the Cokes immediately began ingratiating themselves with the new monarch and his family. Elizabeth traveled to Scotland to meet the incoming Queen, Anne of Denmark, and it was said that the high-tempered beauty managed to please the withdrawn, strong-willed Queen. Hence, she and her husband were able to hold the affections and trust of the Queen as long as she lived.

Elizabeth was 26 years younger than her second husband and had a disposition that was hot-tempered and articulate. They were said to be not compatible but at least well-matched.[15] By 1604, Elizabeth's marriage to Sir Edward Coke deteriorated and she was said to have become a formidable character and thorn at her husband's side.[16] They quarreled over their respective rights to the Hatton estate which Elizabeth had inherited from her first husband: the dispute became so bitter that the King intervened personally to mediate. Elizabeth had had two daughters by her second husband, Frances Coke, Viscountess Purbeck, and Elizabeth Coke (who died unmarried).[9][11] Her daughter Frances was later married to John Villiers, 1st Viscount Purbeck, the elder brother of King James' favourite, George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham, which was a major factor of marital strife between Elizabeth and her second husband.[13][17][18][19] For Elizabeth had opposed of the match (presumably because Villiers was generally believed to be insane) and sent her daughter Frances away from Hatton House in Holborn without informing her husband. Her plans were to keep Frances in a rented house with the help of her relatives. Elizabeth thus placed her daughter with Lady Withipole, daughter of Sir William Cornwallis, where she intended her daughter to be betrothed to Henry de Vere, 18th Earl of Oxford. However, her husband later located their daughter by chance and took her away, keeping her locked up by legal means in various houses of his friends. Then in September 1617, Frances was married at Hampton Court in the presence of the King and Queen to John Villiers. The marriage was a disastrous failure, and in 1621 Frances eloped with Sir Robert Howard, with whom she lived in an unofficial union for many years.

Elizabeth and her husband were never reconciled: at his funeral she remarked "We shall never see his like again, thanks be to God".

Elizabeth's daughter Frances, Lady Purbeck

Death and burial[edit]

Elizabeth Hatton died 3 January 1646, and was buried in the parish church of St Andrew Holborn.[13]


  1. ^ Nicolas 1847, p. 2.
  2. ^ Nicolas 1847, pp. 2, 502.
  3. ^ 'Parishes: Hunningham', A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 6: Knightlow hundred (1951), pp. 117-120 Retrieved 26 August 2013.
  4. ^ Collier 1865, pp. 328-31.
  5. ^ a b Nicolas 1847, pp. 478-9, 502.
  6. ^ Brooke 1986, p. 568.
  7. ^ Gowdy 1919, pp. 39-41.
  8. ^ Ibbetson 2004.
  9. ^ a b Nicolas 1847, p. 502.
  10. ^ Kelsey 2004.
  11. ^ a b McKeen 1986, pp. 675-6.
  12. ^ Longueville 1909, p. 4.
  13. ^ a b c Aughterson 2004.
  14. ^ Watt 1915, p. 261
  15. ^ Boyer 2003, p. 213
  16. ^ Thrush, Andrew. "History of Parliament". Institute of Historical Research, University of London. Retrieved 27 April 2016.
  17. ^ Boyer 2004.
  18. ^ Milward 2004.
  19. ^ Gibbs 1908, pp. 59-67.


External links[edit]

  • The Thomas Gray Archive, University of Oxford, letter re wedding of Sir William Hatton [1][permanent dead link]
  • Longueville, Thomas, The Curious Case of Lady Purbeck: A Scandal of the XVIIth Century, (London: Longmans Green, 1909). Available in the public domain at Project Gutenberg [2].
  • BBC News report [3] (6 November 2001) on the exhumation of bodies, including that of Elizabeth Hatton, from St Andrew Guild Church, Holborn.